Last year for Ryan’s birthday, my parents gave him the gift of overnight babysitting. (Applause is appropriate, especially since this is a “less clutter, more fun” gift.) So, Saturday morning Ryan and I head for San Francisco, a 20-minute drive across a bridge, to spend the weekend.
I made some notes about the kids’ schedule, left a fridge full of food, and a request for them to make a Target run. I gave vague instructions for getting ready for the preschool holiday party that my dad and stepmom would be attending in our place. I have 100% confidence that they can handle these things, so I was relaxed when we left.
Heather wanted me to blog about this because she has never had a night away from her kids with her husband, except for the night she left toddler Holden to go have baby Milo in the hospital.
So to her I say, Heather, you are right to fantasize about spending 24 hours away from the kids. It is wonderful. It’s not about escaping from whining or tantrums. It’s not about avoiding playing the same board game nine times in a row or being relieved from having to explain why we don’t have pancakes for dinner, except for when we do. It’s about the schedule and the equipment; freedom from these things is exhilarating.
Here is some fuel for your fantasy.
Imagine, parents who have never traveled away from your children, not having to wake up until your body wants to wake up. Then, when you wake up, you may go exercise if you like. If not, you may shower. You don’t have to ask your spouse permission to take a shower or to exercise. You can stay in the shower as long as the water is hot.
When you dress, you can wear anything, even cashmere or dangling earrings.
Hours can pass and you do not have to prepare any meals, clean up any meals, pack any snacks, or do anything food-wise beyond seeking out the food you want to eat yourself. You do not have to eat something that sets a good example. Have three doughnuts if you like.
Leave the hotel with a small stylish purse. Or maybe just your wallet in your pocket.
Wander the city for hours. Know that back at home, your parents are organizing their whole day around your baby’s nap and your preschooler’s (fake) quiet time. You are organizing your whole day around how long your feet are happy to walk.
Eat a piece of chocolate in broad daylight.
At a museum, get in a line that indicates a 20-minute wait. Do not worry about how you are going to survive 20 minutes of entertaining one or more monkeys since you’ve run out of fishy crackers.
Flop on the bed at 5 pm for some afternoon TV watching. Open a bottle of wine.
Is it the witching hour? No, not here, in your fantasy weekend away. You are browsing a magazine while you wait for your 6 pm massage appointment. There is no bed, bath, book, breast routine to which you may be a slave.
Have a few cocktails and fall asleep with your clothes on. Or naked. Whatever — it’s your fantasy.
What we did, specificially:
1) stayed at Hotel Vitale
2) Breakfast at Squat & Gobble
3) Visit with Adam and Quyen
4) Ran into cousins Xan, Layla and baby Calvin
5) Bought myself Lucky Brand jeans and Nike shoes
6) Bought random stocking stuffers for kids at H&M
7) Lunch in bottom of Westfield mall (soup/salad)
8) Beard Papa cream puff
9) Massage for me, workout for Ryan
10) Watch part of Ricky Bobby
11) Dinner at SaltHouse
12) Dessert at Americano
13) Breakfast with Ross & Karen at Universal Cafe
14) Academy of Sciences museum